Why one dairy farmer decided to plant 80ac of forestry on his farm

Liam Codd is a third-generation farmer from Co. Wexford. A few years back, he decided to diversify his dairy farm by planting 80ac of forestry.

After contacting a number of forestry companies to discuss his proposal, he met with Tom O’Dwyer, south-east regional manager of Veon.

Following this meeting, the Wexford-based farmer decided to choose Veon to apply to the Forest Service for planting permission and to then plant his land.

Tom O’Dwyer and Liam Codd

“What attracted me to forestry was the certainty of the tax-free premia income, which balances the unpredictability of income from dairy activities.

“The premia are payable for 15 years. After which time I will have sight of income from thinnings at intervals until clearfell, which will take place after approximately 30 years.

“The timing of the clearfell will coincide with my retirement; although I don’t expect to retire,” he said.

Codd continued: “I discussed planting forestry with my family, friends and neighbours beforehand and they thought it was a good idea. Like many farmers in Ireland, I am asset rich and time poor.

Over the past few years, I examined my working life and clearly saw that the real return from my farming activities was very low relative to the sheer number of hours I spend working on the farm.

“With forestry as a part of my farming activities, I now have a guaranteed income and have more time freed up.”

Veon planted Sitka Spruce as the primary commercial species with the requisite birch mix, to ensure the visual aspect was softened and enhanced.

Tom O’Dwyer said: “Liam’s land was ideally suited to producing high-yield, quality, commercial timber. This is in great demand in Ireland and with an increasing demand likely for the next century at current planting rates.

“Ireland has the lowest levels of forest cover in the EU at 10.5%, despite having the best growing conditions in Europe.”

Codd added: “I am delighted Veon planted my forestry and I would recommend its professional and upfront approach.

“Tom O’Dwyer explained the process and the objectives and delivered on all of them. I would be very happy to recommend Veon to any farmer considering forestry as an option.”

Reducing workload in Co. Wexford

Ger McGrath is another dairy farm in Co. Wexford who decided to plant 20ac of his farm with commercial forestry. Like Codd, he also chose Veon to plant his land.

O’Dwyer also conducted the site survey and planted Sitka Spruce and Norway Spruce as the primary commercial species. These varieties were chosen after careful analysis of the soil.

“Ger’s land is good quality and ideally suited to producing high-yielding timber over the coming years,” said O’Dwyer.

McGrath added: “I wanted to reduce the workload on my farm and forestry provides me with the opportunity to do that. It also provides me with a guaranteed income over a 15-year period.

Ger McGrath and Tom O’Dwyer

“Furthermore, the tax-free returns from the crop put it right up there with dairy; it’s a lot less risky and I also get to keep my single farm payment.

“Having seen an advertisement in a national media outlet, I spoke to friends who recommended Veon as my forest manager.

“I then met with Tom who came and walked the site with me and ultimately planted 20ac. I would recommend Veon and am considering some additional planting over the next year or so,” he concluded. Click here for more Veon news